Zoo welcomes 2nd endangered orangutan baby in 2 years

National News

(NEXSTAR) — A second Sumatran orangutan has been born in two years at the zoo in New Orleans — and it’s cute, red-haired and critically endangered.

“It just goes to show that, despite all of the uncertainty in the world currently, life is carrying on as normal for our orangutans,” said Audubon Zoo’s Curator of Primates Liz Wilson. “It’s really uplifting to see.”

The baby was born Sunday, which was earlier than expected, and veterinarians haven’t yet been able to weigh, measure and determine the sex of the new arrival, Audubon Zoo spokeswoman Annie Kinler Matherne said Monday.

First-time mother Reese, who is 12 years old, has been cuddling her baby.

“Thus far, Reese is showing very positive signs of her maternal instincts kicking in,” said Audubon’s senior veterinarian Bob MacLean. “She is holding the infant close and tending to it well. We are continuing to monitor for signs of nursing and lactation.”

The zoo is giving mother and infant time to bond and to allow the zoo’s veterinary and primate team to care for them.

The birth was the result of successful breeding with Jambi, the zoo’s male orangutan.

A news release notes that Reese has seen two different orangutans give birth and raise babies: her own mother at Albuquerque BioPark Zoo in New Mexico and Audubon’s orangutan matriarch in 2019.

The Sumatran orangutan is typically found in the north of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, and it’s one of three species of orangutans. Females are in estrus only a few days a year during which mating can occur. On average, a female will bear young every eight or nine years and will raise only three or four offspring during her lifetime.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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